My husband, Robert, and I knew it was coming. We knew that at some point we would have to go out street preaching with our good friends Tommy and Melanie Waltz. We’ve financially contributed to their ministry, Gospel of God Ministries, for several years and have always supported them with prayer and I would proofread materials for them on occasion, but we were always at a safe distance, not putting ourselves out there on the street in the middle of a sea of lost people who desperately needed to hear the Gospel just as we ourselves once did. Until Wednesday when I received a text from Melanie.
“GGM is preaching at Raleigh movie series Friday 8-11pm. Would you and Robert want to go for some of it?”
What if someone got angry with me?
There it is, I thought. This is really going to happen! I’ll be honest, I was curious and we really believe in GGM and what God is doing through them, but I was also apprehensive. What if someone got angry with Tommy? I didn’t want to see him get yelled at or mistreated. What if someone got angry with me? How would I handle that? I didn’t want to stick my neck out and possibly get mocked or worse.
But then, in my Bible study, God reminded me that His Son was hated, mocked and ridiculed by those He was trying to save. God showed me that He sees it all, He sees His workers go out night after night and “cast their nets” to show the lost their sin and show them the cure in Jesus. God sees His beloved street preachers get mocked, yelled at and ignored. He asks them to go anyway…and they obey. So we went.
Before we went out to the street corner, we met and prayed together at a McDonald’s. We all asked for protection and that God would be honored by our actions and words. We prayed for the lost – that their hearts would be open to hear the beautiful news of Jesus, the answer to their sin problem. We also prayed for safety for our kids back home with the babysitter.
Who prays for a heckler!?
And then Tommy prayed for a heckler! I was like, “No!” I hate confrontation and run screaming from it and here was Tommy specifically asking God for one! He explained that he prays that God will bring hecklers because a heckler gets a crowd to form which means that more people will have the opportunity to hear the message.
Our next stop was the street corner where we would set up and spend the next few hours. It took a few tries to find the right spot that wasn’t too loud, but had enough foot traffic so as to make the most of our time there. We finally chose a great spot between the First Friday event and the Raleigh Movie Series event. There were a ton of people walking around that area, but it was quiet enough that Tommy and Sean could be heard. Tommy set up his whiteboard and “Good Person Test” sign and wrote “What is Truth?” on the whiteboard.
Some people stopped. Some didn’t.
He then took his place on the top step of his 2-step ladder and started talking to anyone and everyone about Jesus and why we were here on this street corner. He asked people passing by what they thought truth is. I took a handful of tracts to hand out and found a place to stand near the wall to watch. The next 2 hours passed by in a second! It was so much fun watching the people interact with Tommy, Sean, Sandy, Melanie, Elisa and even Robert! I never felt pressured by Tommy to talk to anyone or hand out any tracts. I could just observe and pray if I wanted to and participate as the Spirit led me.
It was very interesting to see that some people stop and some didn’t. I could almost see the Holy Spirit working on people’s hearts as they stopped to listen or talk with Tommy or one of us standing in the crowd. Some people were mean, some curious. But what made me realize the importance of what GGM does is that almost everyone who passed by and took a look at the Good Person Test, said “I’ve done all those things, I’m definitely going to Hell.” They would say it so flippantly, some even giggling to their friends as they passed by, ignoring the street preacher as he called out to them “You said you’d fail the test. Come and talk to me and I’ll tell you what to do about it!”
Fears not met
All in all, going out with GGM to street preach was way more fun than I thought it was going to be, not scary at all – even when we got the heckler that Tommy prayed for. I may even hand out a tract next time!
(Read Robert Redd’s account of their first trip out.)